Sports Law Blog
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Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Sports on the Ballot: Everyone knows that yesterday's election featured a bitter battle for the White House and the probably more important but less-discussed Senate races. But there were also a number of races which either featured sports figures or dealt with sports-related issues.

A number of well-known sports figures were involved in elections on Tuesday. Incumbents Tom Osborne (R-Neb.) and Jim Bunning (R- Ken.) held onto their House and Senate seats, respectively. In Bunning's case, his victory comes despite a much-maligned campaign where he admitted to a number of errors and his opposition questioned his mental health. In addition, on yesterday's PTI, Charles Barkley said that if Kerry did not win, then he would run for governor of Alabama. So, I suppose we may be seeing candidate Charles in the next two years.

More important, though, are the numerous ballot initiatives dealing with sports questions. The big win was in Dallas, where voters approved $325 million in tax increases to help pay for a new retractable-roof stadium in Arlington (home to the Rangers baseball team). I am sure that this is not sitting well with Professor Sauer, who has written extensively on the excessive public subsidies given to professional sports teams. But, in the end, crazy Texas football love won out over reason and economic sense. For a wealth of information on this vote, please see Heavy Lifting.

In contrast, a much-smaller tax increase to renovate the stadiums of the Chiefs and Royals failed in Kansas City, placing both of the financially-strapped teams in somewhat problematic situations. But the local government said that while the measure failed, it succeeded in getting people thinking about public support for sports and the arts (which also would have benefited under the measure).

In San Francisco, voters approved Proposition H by a 55 to 45 margin. The measure prevents the sale of naming rights for Candlestick Park, effectively avoiding a sale to which would have renamed the site Monster Park. The initiative will not affect any future stadiums built on the site, and will cost the city approximately $3 million. Is there anything in California they do not have an initiative for? This seems an excessively-trivial measure. I understand the argument against naming rights deals, but they play a big role in paying for stadiums, helping lessen the need for taxes like were just passed in Dallas. And is anyone really that attached to the name "Candlestick Park?"

Finally, voters in Miami approved $2.9 billion in bonds to build new museums, roads and drainage systems, and renovate the Orange Bowl. Approximately $50 million is earmarked for the aging stadium.


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Anonymous Anonymous -- 2/04/2006 1:34 PM  

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